Bi-Weekly Roundup: February 25, 2017
This is our weekly roundup from February 25, 2017. Over the past two weeks, there were many stories published in national new sites about astronomy-related events. In case you missed them, here are some of our highlights:
Featured Story: NASA Announces Solar System with Habitable Planets
40 light years away from Earth, NASA has discovered another solar system with their Spitzer Space Telescope. In the solar system, there is a singular dim, red dwarf star named “TRAPPIST-1.” Orbiting the star are seven planets, with three of them being in the “habitable zone.” A “habitable zone” is a region in the system where liquid water may be available, which brings up the question of whether or not life is sustainable outside of our planet.
Lunar Eclipse, Comet & Snow Moon
On the night of February 10th, there were three astronomical events that took place: a lunar eclipse, comet, and ‘Snow Moon.’ A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the Sun and a full moon, where the Earth’s shadow covers a portion of the moon and makes it appear darker in the sky than a typical full moon. The comet seen flying past Earth was “Comet 45P” or the “Green Comet,” which was on its closest pass by Earth in nearly five years. The full moon on the 10th was deemed the ‘Snow Moon,’ as do all other full moons that occur in February.
Additional Sources: “Comet 45P to flyby Earth on February 11, 2017” by Watchers.News
India Breaks Record by Launching 104 Satellites into Space
Over the course of 18 minutes, India’s space agency launched 104 satellites in space. This historic launch creates a new record for the number of satellites launched into space at one time. This launch was deemed “high-risk” since the chance of the satellites crashing into one another was highly probable. However, the satellites were launched safely into space and are now orbiting the Earth.
SpaceX Launches from Former Moon Launch Pad
The former John F. Kennedy moon-launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida has been dusted off and put into action by the SpaceX company. SpaceX utilized the pad to launch a new rocket into space, which was aimed for the International Space Station. The rocket and its capsule brought supplies to the ISS, and the rocket launch was successful. SpaceX hopes to use the historic launch pad further to put astronauts into space once again, nearly half a century after its last manned mission.
Additional Sources: “SpaceX launches rocket to International Space Station” by NY Times
SpaceX Capsule Docks on ISS
Four days after Space-X launched a rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station, the capsule docked aboard the ISS. It took two tries for the capsule to dock, according to NASA, but its cargo is now safely on board the station.
Additional Sources: “Astronauts capture Dragon with Robotic Arm” by NASA